The aim of a carer's assessment is to give you a chance to tell social services about the things that could make looking after your child easier for you. This may result in getting services to meet your own assessed needs.
A carer's assessment focuses on you as a parent and your needs, your wellbeing, health and safety issues and important commitments such as relationships, education and employment.
Asking for a carer's assessment
All parent carers have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time. This can be, for example, if your needs have changed - you may wish to take up education, training or employment. You can ask for a carer's assessment by contacting your local authority.
You don't need to have a diagnosis for your child to get an assessment or help from social services - if your child needs help or support, an assessment of their needs should still be made.
Our helpline team have written a template letter to make a carer's assessment request (England only) [DOC].
The local authority should consider work, education and leisure opportunities when you are being assessed. Examples of services that you might receive after a carer's assessment include driving lessons, help with housework and gardening, emotional support and short breaks.
Young carers and other relatives
Young carers - for example siblings of disabled children - can ask for an assessment of their needs if they are providing a substantial amount of care. In Scotland, young adult carers will have this right from age 18 - 25. Ask your local authority to find out more.
Young carers of school age can approach their teachers or school nurse for support.
In England, the law says that assessment for a young carer is triggered where there is an 'appearance of need'. That means it is not necessary for the young person to request this, so any assessment of you or your disabled child should take into account any brothers or sisters and whether they are providing care.
After the assessment
If the local authority agrees that services should be provided, they should draw up a plan that sets out:
- What services will be provided.
- For how long the services are needed.
- What the local authority plans to achieve by providing the services.
- What each person and agency is expected to do.
- The date of the next review.
The plan should be reviewed regularly to make sure any services remain appropriate.
The local authority may decide there is no need for services, which could result in your case being closed with no further action taken. If you disagree with this decision, you can challenge it using the local authority's complaints procedure.
Moving into adult services (England only)
If your child is turning 18, you might need support to prepare for the transition to adult services. Under the Care Act 2014 in England, you can ask for a child's carer's assessment 'in transition'.
Young carers who are approaching the age of 18 are eligible for help in their own right under the Care Act. This is regardless of the age of their sibling.
When a young carer approaches their 18th birthday, they can ask for an assessment of their needs to find out what support can be put in place to help them achieve their aspirations, for example to go to college or work.
Find out more about moving into adult services.
- Download our factsheet Carers' Assessments - help for parent carers in England [PDF].
- Read our parent guide Getting social care services when your child has additional needs - England [PDF].
- Wherever you live in the UK, you can call our freephone helpline (Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5pm) on 0808 808 3555, ask us a question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or post a query on our Facebook page.